Monday, February 27, 2012

getting educated in beitou

On a random Sunday a couple weeks back I went to Taipei all by myself. I used the MRT without having to check the map or look for directions. Am I on the way to becoming a local?!?! So exciting. Having read my friend's blogs and what foreigners are called in the native language, I realize I never stated what they say here and that is wǎiguórén. I actually thought wǎiguórén was for "white" people because I've never had it directed at me before but when we were with Chance I heard people saying it around him. Haha. Anyways I was in Taipei to check out the Taipei Lantern Festival, another post on that later, but since it's better to view the lanterns at night I had time to check out Beitou during the day. I really picked Beitou because Daisy Day, a scrapbooking store, was located there and I wanted to check out all the museums and stuff that were closed when Erica, Phil and I were there. I've been in desperate need of scrapbooking supplies and I am so frustrated with the limited amount of stuff I did bring with me. Arg!

Is it weird that the first thing I usually do when I know I'm going to a new place is to look up if there are any scrapbooking stores I can go to. The funny thing is that most scrapbooking companies are American so it is cheaper for me to buy it in America instead of going somewhere international to buy it for an inflated price. Daisy Day is one of the only actual scrapbooking stores I could find any information on. I was pretty excited and the store is beautiful. I had to take these pictures super sneakily...

Daisy Day has a wide range of items but a lot of them are from prior seasons and nothing that I saw wasn't stuff I hadn't already seen before. The really expensive price tag put me off on going crazy. I'm definitely going to go back. I just wish the prices weren't so expensive, more expensive than America. If only international shipping wasn't so expensive...

I ended up only buying three items which came close to 700 NT which translates to $26 USD! OMG I just converted the prices... WTF was I thinking?!?! Ugh it might be cheaper just to have shit shipped to me. I'm not sure what is happening to me but I find myself buying things at prices I would never pay for in America. For example $2 USD for Pringles when I wouldn't even pay $1.50 for them back in the US or $90 NT for a notebook which roughly comes out to over $3 USD. I would never have bought a notebook for that much back in the States. I'm not sure what is going on where even though in terms of USD I don't make that much, but I'm willing to shell out NT for items that I would never have been down with buying if I had to pay its equivalent in USD. Back home I use to think of purchases in the amount of time I had to work in order to pay for that item, a pack of stickers = a little less than an hour of work at minimal wage, etc etc. But now that I'm getting paid monthly and in such a large sum that the small amounts of hundreds or so for an item doesn't seem to register... I should start sending money home so I'm not tempted to buy frivolous crap with it. I can't believe i spent so much on such a small amount. Ugh I might not go back to Daisy Day if those are the kind of prices I'm paying for items that are worth way less back home. Why did I choose a hobby which is virtually unknown of outside of western countries?!?

After Daisy Day I caught the train to Xinbeitou which is where most of the touristy stuff are, I made sure to ask the lady at the information desk if the museums and stuff were opened since I didn't want to make an unnecessary trip. First stop was the Ketagalan Culture Center which is all about the indigenous people of Taiwan. There were videos of different tribes dancing or playing musical instruments which was pretty interesting. No pictures were allowed so I spent a lot of time avoiding being caught while I took pictures. I didn't get that much but I did manage to get some of the display that showed the different outfits worn by the different indigenous people in Taiwan.

A lot of the information on the indigenous people was posted on boards scattered around the building and it was also in English which was nice. However how boring is it to just go into a building and just stand there reading boards so I didn't really learn much and since they didn't let me take pictures I couldn't even take pics of the information and read it at my leisure at home. I really wanted to take videos of the videos they had of the various dances performed by the tribes people but there was a security camera there...

Next stop the greenest building in Taiwan, the Beitou Branch of the Taipei Public Library.

This building has a bunch of features that makes it an Eco-friendly building. This article goes more in-depth about the building. Some of the more interesting things I read was that the wood used to build this building was sourced from North America because logging is banned in Taiwan and forests in Southeast Asia weren't managed in a sustainable manner. Also the sloped roof is used to collect rain water that is used to flush the toilets! Pretty neat. I stepped inside the library and it was spacious and very stylish. If only more libraries were like this.

The Beitou Hot Spring Museum used to be the Beitou Public Baths one of the biggest public baths at the time in East Asia. The building contains a unique mixture of Western and Eastern architecture.

western architecture

The big bath on the bottom floor. Apparently the arcades and columns surrounding the bath is suppose to simulate the Roman baths of ancient times. The entrance is on the second floor so after taking a bath you would go back up and relax in the lobby.

The lobby was built in the Japanese style with tatami mats on the floor and sliding paper doors! So pretty, I really love Japanese architecture. I like how in this one building there was a whole bunch of architectural styles to be found. Most of the information in this museum is only in Chinese, the only thing I found in English was one hallway that detailed the history of the hot springs in Beitou. Random artifacts scattered throughout didn't have corresponding English information.  

Finally found the Puji Temple! I had to ask someone because like last time after following the directions, I apparently passed it without seeing it. That is because you need to climb up some stairs and the temple is actually hidden from view. If you are following the signs and you see a giant rock on your right hand side, climb up the stairs and go through the fence and keep climbing more steps and you'll be there. The Puji Temple is so special because it is a temple of the Shingon sect of Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. It is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy Avalokiteshvara, who serves as a guardian spirit of the hot springs. The temple from what I could is really small but I didn't really get to explore because when I was there some ritual was happening and all the monks were chanting in front of the altar.

This day was actually pretty hot and I ended up having to carry my thick jacket everywhere. I saw a lot of people dipping their feet into the Beitou stream and at first I thought it was because the water was hot, coming from the Thermal Valley and they were trying to get a free hot spring experience. I dipped my hand into it and the water was cool so people must have just been trying to cool off, it was that warm of a day. Weather in Taiwan is so freaking crazy!

I hadn't eaten anything all day and it right about the time the night markets started opening so I headed over to the Shilin Night Market. Man I need to go to night markets earlier. It was so nice to be able to walk without being shoved or with small little steps. The only downside is that everything wasn't opened. Grabbed a chicken steak which was so huge, larger than my head. It didn't seem that enormous last time I had it.

It was so large that it couldn't be held up with just one hand. The top half actually flopped backwards and almost broke off! What was disturbing was there was a bunch of plastic containers that formed the walls of the stall that contained marinating chicken. These were huge plastic containers that contained an enormous number of chicken steaks. None of this was refrigerated and it seemed like those containers of chicken were just going to sit there the whole day until the stall either ran out or closed up shop... That was a little disturbing - good thing I arrived early so my chicken steak wasn't sitting out in the open for hours. Haha just discovered Beitou is part of Taipei City so I guess in my previous visit to Beitou where I stated I was bringing Erica to Phil to New Taipei City was a lie. Oops.

The Details
Daisy Day - Scrapbooking Store in Taipei
1F., No. 69, Zhongzheng St., Beitou Dist. Taipei City
tel: 02-2897-0017
directions: exit the Beitou MRT Station and make a right across the street, walk straight a block and the store will be your right hand side across a little open plaza space

Ketagalan Culture Center
No. 3-1, Chungshan Road, Beitou, Taipei City
tel: 02-2898-6500
hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5:00pm; closed Mondays and National Holidays
admission: free
website: Ketagalan Culture Center

Beitou Branch - Taipei Public Library
hours: Tuesday-Sunday 8:30-21:00, Sunday-Monday 9:00-17:00; closed the first Thursday of the month

Beitou Hot Spring Museum
No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City
tel: 02-2893-9981
hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm; closed Mondays and National Holidays
admission: free
Be warned you will have to remove your shoes and wear slippers to enter the building.

Although the street names are spelled differently, it's the same street. Basically once you exit the Xinbeitou District just walk straight along the street right next to the park. You'll end up hitting all the buildings in the order I posted about them.


  1. i forget how far away you are from Taipei, but I heard there was an earthquake there recently. Stay safe! <3

  2. Ugh! We missed so much stuff in Beitou!

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